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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Something New // My Journey With Invisalign

My First Journey With Braces

Age 7 - After teeth were removed because of overcrowding
When I was little, I had big teeth. At the age of 6 I had over crowding and my dentist said that for me to have braces in the next few years I needed some teeth pulling in preparation. At the age of 10 I had more teeth pulled and was ready to started my journey with braces.
I started with retainers to pull my front teeth in as they were on a slant. Between the teeth on my bottom jaw and the two at the front I had an 11mm gap and I couldn't close my mouth without my teeth sticking out. 

It was just over a year later that I got my retainer with blocks. These blocks were placed at a specific bite to bring my jaw forward. It transpired that I had no chin when it came to my profile. My jaw was set too far back and contributing more to my overbite issue. I had grown too quickly for the blocks to work and was on a different plan that involved jaw surgery.

Age 14 - Before fixed braces
At 14 my fixed braces were put on and after tightening's, elastics and changes of tracks at 18 I had my hooks added ready for the surgery. 

Jaw Surgery

Age 18 - A few hours after the surgery and the day after
I could of had the surgery at 16 but my parents wanted it to be my decision and I wasn't legally able to consent to the procedure until I was 18. The plan was to move my top and bottom jaw into place of a natural bite, give me more of a chin and ultimately fix the overbite. 
On the day of surgery the plan changed, only my lower jaw would be broken and re-positioned. I ended up with four plates two that pushed my chin forward a little more and two at the hinges. It was decided that there wasn't as much of a necessity to move my top jaw and the surgeon could elongate my lip by cutting a V shape under the top lip and sewing it into a Y. At that point my overbite wasn't as prominent and elongating the lip would cover the fact my smile was just a little gummier than others. 
This meant my surgery was shorter, recovery time was quicker and I achieved the same results. I was ecstatic with how my teeth turned out but as I was only 18 the growth of my wisdom teeth effected those results later on which is why I've decided to go back for more dental treatment. 
Age 18 - After braces were taken off & before my wisdom teeth came through

The Changes I Noticed

When my wisdom teeth started to come through, 2 years after the surgery, my retainers started to bend and crack. My teeth were being pushed forward but because it wasn't a huge push forward as they were coming through I didn't think anything of immediate action. After a few months I went to get my retainer replaced with my wisdom teeth through fully and straight. I was quoted £750 for a new one. I wasn't long finished with university and in the middle of getting my health under control as I had been diagnosed with having Ulcerative Colitis, I didn't have the funds for that.
Over the next 4 years I had tried my best to save for a new retainer but at dentist check ups I was told there wasn't really much need for me to have one which was conflicting as I was told after surgery that my orthodontic work needed to be maintained with one.
Just before I turned 25 I noticed my front teeth started to slant forward and my bite had started to change. My teeth were moving across the top and bottom and I had started to grind my teeth in my sleep. I knew then I was going to need more dental work than a new retainer and researched many different dentists / orthodontists before deciding that Invisalign would be the best option. I rung a few paces to get a ballpark figure when it came to cost and saved the funds to do it. 
Last month I had a consultation and I was so impressed that I said yes to start the treatment.

Why Invisalign?

I had knowledge of the different types of braces from the various plans discussed between the age of 10 to 18 but this time round I was more drawn to Invisalign as they are what they say, invisible aligners. Invisalign is an expensive treatment but in my opinion is well worth the price. 
In comparison to fixed braces, with the retainers I can keep my teeth cleaner; with fixed braces you hear of people who end up with staining in the shape of the brace as they cannot get close enough with a brush. I'll be able to floss easier; when I tried to floss with fixed braces I'd end up snapping the floss more times than I can count trying to get it between the brace and teeth. I won't need to limit the types of foods I eat; with fixed braces you have to be careful with chewy foods, sticky foods, hard / crunchy foods or high sugar and citrus foods. I will not have to take time off to visit the dentist as much; most orthodontists work certain days whereas with dentists who offer Invisalign, they are normal dentists trained to do the treatment. I would also be swapping trays at home to keep everything tight; when I had fixed braces, tightening the wire was painful, awkward and happened every 2 weeks.

The Simulation

There is a machine with a wand that scans your teeth and creates a simulation of before and after which I've shared below. It's very accurate but can be a little uncomfortable when trying to scan the back teeth.
Before Simulation
After Simulation
I know this may not seem like a massive change to the pictures you see of others online or in the adverts but to me it makes a huge difference. My bite will change back to where it needs to be, the top front teeth will be tucked back in with the rest and I get to do this whilst keeping my wisdom teeth, bonus! Obviously these are just simulations and the after depends on how much movement I can get out of my teeth and changes can be made to the plan if my dentist thinks I can get more towards the results I want. 

Today I went and had my aligners attached and picked up the first few sets of trays. I will be getting the before pictures from my dentist and I'll be posting my progress in sections, after check ups. I get a couple of sets of trays each time so I will be showing the changes to my teeth as I swap them out.

I hope this post interested you or helped you if you were thinking of getting Invisalign done. If you are I'd definitely say go for a consultation, it may not be the route for everybody but after all the different braces and treatments I've had this already has many more benefits. 

As always, thanks for reading...

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